Greubel Forsey Celebrates 10 Years
… of Haute Horology
By Dale King and Julia Hebert
To luxury watchmakers Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey, time is the essence of their business. Since they and their team of approximately 100 motivated craftspeople began creating exquisite and truly accurate mechanical timepieces in 2004, the world has swiftly ticked away a decade.
An Anniversary Worth Reveling
The Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30° timepiece, first shown at Baselworld 10 years ago, put their Switzerland based company on the haute horological map. To mark the anniversary, Stephen Forsey offered his observations to South Florida Opulence in an exclusive interview.
Greubel, a French native, and British born Forsey, have gained fame for giving new life to the tourbillon movement. In essence, the tourbillon movement is a rotational like mechanism designed to negate the detrimental effects of gravity, thereby increasing the overall accuracy and effectiveness of mechanical timepieces.
“When we started out we only offered one watch model, but we had ideas for the next 10 to 15 years. Now, 10 years later, we still have ideas for the next 10 to 15 years. There are things we want to work on, develop and explore,” said Forsey, co-founder to the exclusive horology company, which produces only 100 carefully crafted, hand-finished mechanical timepieces each year. “This milestone year is something very significant.”
Earning Awards Worldwide
And their inventive formula works. In 2011, a Greubel Forsey timepiece racked up a score of 915 out of a possible 1,000 points at the notable Concours de Chronometrie endurance test, a distinguished chronometry competition held in Le Locle, Switzerland. Not only did it win the tourbillon category, but was also judged the most accurate timepiece watch of all entrants in the 45-day competition. “We believe this to be a fantastic achievement for one of our timepieces that was exposed to extreme conditions of heat, cold, shock and magnetic fields,’’ said Forsey. Also, incredibly satisfying is the fact that no other timepiece has ever hit the 915 mark.
Greubel and Forsey are honoring the 10th anniversary of their high-quality timepieces in an elegant manner. Cakes, pastries and chocolates – favorites in the Swiss region – may be in order, but the icing on the cake is a special edition timepiece. A traditional Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain has been reframed with 272 diamonds totaling 9.71 carats to create a glittering piece of horological art.
Moreover, Swiss artist Alain Bardet condensed the first decade of Greubel Forsey timepiece history into a fresco showing the two masters in the foreground, surrounded by a display of timepiece parts, employees and awards.
The company’s current portfolio of 17 timepiece models that have been thus far created since 2004 also includes the Double Tourbillon 30° “Secret” from 2007, the Quadruple Tourbillon unveiled in 2008, and the Art Piece 1 from 2013 that features a microscopic golden galleon nestled inside the timepiece created by micro sculptor Willard Wigan MBE, among others. “It’s quite a healthy lineup,” Forsey said with a wry smile.
A Pedigree Timepiece
Greubel Forsey timepieces have price tags approaching – and exceeding – the million- dollar mark. Sought out by high-end collectors of rare and investment timepieces, Forsey comments,“One of our biggest compliments is to meet a collector wearing and enjoying one of our timepieces.”
The year 2009 was particularly important for the master creators. The company consolidated its operations from several remote sites into a single eco-friendly, renovated 17th century farmhouse in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, architecturally revamped with distinctive floor-to-ceiling windows.
That same year, Emmanuel Vuille became the chief executive officer to the company. Coupled with a degree in economics and 20 years’ experience in the horology sector, Vuille soon extended his contacts in the watchmaking world. Since he joined Greubel Forsey, the two founders have been permitted more time to focus on the creative and technical aspects of their business.
Preserving the Legacy
In 2011, the team launched the project entitled, Garde Temps – Naissance d’une Montre. The project aim is designed to perpetuate the skills of artisan watch craftsmen for the benefit of future generations to learn. Michel Boulanger, a young teacher at the Paris Watchmaking School, has been appointed “to help us preserve, sustain and transmit these traditional techniques.”
“Robert and I set out to create a watch company that celebrates the originality of each creation,” Forsey said. And it does. He adds: “Our motivation is driven by our passion for watchmaking. New equipment, new measuring tools, new technology and our own creativity enable us to produce innovative timepieces that challenge the imagination.”
For more information about Greubel Forsey haute horology, visit www.greubelforsey.com/en. For an appointment to view a Greubel Forsey timepiece in Florida, visit Les Bijoux in Mizner Park, 306 Plaza Real, Boca Raton or call 561-361-2311; or in Naples, go to Yamron Jewelers, 5555 Tamiami Trail North #11 or call(239) 592-7707.